The Profession

Who they are: Physicians work with patients to maintain or restore their health. They promote disease prevention, diagnose illness or injury, and prescribe treatments including medication, surgery, physical therapy, and others.

What they do: Physicians do many things in their day-to-day practice, including: examining patients, obtaining medical histories, and ordering, performing, and interpreting diagnostic tests. They counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive health care. Some physicians are clinical researchers and spend time in patient-oriented research.

Where they work: Many physicians work in hospitals and clinics. Others work in private practices, academia, government, or research in the public or private sector.

Outlook: There is a growing need for physicians. By 2028, the number of physicians is expected to increase by 7%, which is faster than the national average. This increase is expected due to the aging population in our country. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


Physicians receive one of two types of training - either as an allopathic physician (M.D.), or an osteopathic physician (D.O.) The primary difference between the two is in the training they receive (learn more about D.O.s here). The University of Minnesota Medical School grants the M.D. degree. There are 136 allopathic medical schools (AAMC), and 26 colleges of osteopathic medicine (AACOM).

Upon completion of medical school, physicians take a licensing exam and complete a residency program. Physicians wanting to practice a specialty must complete additional training. Explore the many specialty areas offered in the field of medicine.

The University of Minnesota Medical School offers the many different areas of specialization, which you can learn more about here.

U of M Program

Other Resources